An Irish Man Interprets the World

The Pain of Painlessness

Imagine having a condition which meant you are unable to feel pain. It sounds blissful.

Yet, for Steven and his brother, this was far from the case.[1] When he was 4-5 months old, he began chewing on his tongue as he was teething, unable to sense the pain...

Our Society, built on Slavery and Racism

On Sunday, 28th October 1787, an English politician wrote in his diary, “God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the Reformation of society.” This man was William Wilberforce, who committed himself to fighting against an institution that had been integral to European economies for centuries.

Racism for profit

As...

One child dies every minute: 10 incredible facts about water…

On one side of the world:

8 billion people, around 1 in 6 people, drinks water contaminated with faeces.[1]

 

More people have access to mobile phones than working toilets. Only a third of the population of India has access to adequate sanitation.[2]

 

In 76% of households, women and children bear the primary responsibility of collecting water.[3] In many regions...

4 Challenges Mothers face worldwide

Lethal risks during pregnancy: In the USA, as a result of pregnancy-related causes, 28 women die per 100,000 births, which, to compare, is a higher rate than Thailand (26 deaths), Iran (23) and Saudi Arabia (16). Eastern European nations Poland (3) and Bulgaria (5) have considerably lower rates than both the UK (8) and Ireland (9).[1] As such, all...

Why does an extra X chromosome make such a difference?

Sunday was International Women’s Day.  It adopted the strapline “Make it Happen”. It’s a clear statement that enough talking has been done – it’s time to ensure gender equality.   What is gender? When we’re born, whether we are male or female depends on whether we end up possessing a slightly...

Hinamatsuri Stand

Happy Hina-matsuri!

Yesterday was Hina-matsuri, otherwise known as “the Doll’s Festival”, in Japan. Families construct seven-tiered stands onto which they place Hina-ningyo: dolls made especially for the festival. They carefully arrange figurines representing the old Emperor and Empress and the imperial household. The display can even include lampstands, models of furniture and plants. The...

The Polar Bear: Key to saving the world?

Maybe you missed it on Friday, but it was International Polar Bear Day.

What does the Polar Bear make you think of? Cute, fluffy animals? A landscape of snow, glistening in the sun in a frozen utopia? Nostalgic Christmas cards? For some, the humble creature, which lives in the Arctic region, has become a symbol of world transformation.

2015 may be the most significant year yet...

Could you patent the sun? The Beginning of the End for Polio…

The 1952 polio epidemic killed 3,145 and paralysed 21,269 men, women and children in the US.  Two years later, on 23 February 1954, Virologist Jonas Salk brought a glimmer of hope to Pittsburgh.  On this day,  61 years ago, the first large-scale inoculations of children began today. Just over a year later, the vaccine was declared by the University of Michigan to be ‘safe and...

Happy Pie Day! Why pies have saved lives…

Today is National Pie Day in the USA. It’s not to be confused with the number Pi, or the film the Life of Pi, which focusses more on being stuck in a lifeboat with a tiger! It’s genuinely a day celebrating the symbolic, economic, and tasty qualities of pie! It’s sponsored by the American Pie Council (such an organisation does exist!), which seeks to be...

Reflecting on Paris

Volumes and volumes have already been written about the events in Paris last week. There is little I can add to the discussion. But, I prayerfully remember God’s command, through the writings of St. Paul in his letter to the early Christian community in Rome, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) True love...

Happy Old New Year…

Today would have been the date St Patrick, Jonathan Swift and William Shakespeare celebrated as New Year’s Day. You and I might say it’s the 14th January, but according to the Julian calendar, today is 1st January.

For some Orthodox Christian...

Running out of soil?

Do we feed landfill sites better than the starving?

Did you see last Friday’s cartoon? The statistic is startling. The United Nations confirms that 12 million hectares of land useful farming land is lost each year.[1] That’s an area almost one and a half times the size of Ireland.

There are only 150 million km2 of land area in the entire world. 34% of that is hostile to vegetation and therefore unusable.[2] A quick...

Expensive Mocha...

Don’t spill that Mocha!

What could you buy with €1? Most places in Ireland wouldn’t even give you a glass of lemonade for this price, let alone a Mocha coffee! Yet for a quarter of India, a quarter of a billion people, this is the reality at good times. Spilling a Mocha coffee could signify starvation for half a week! How much do we really value fairness?

Any thoughts on...

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody.”

– Mother Teresa